Ministry of Equity considers relief initiatives for vulnerable households

Saint Lucia: Ministry of Equity considers relief initiatives for vulnerable households

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Saint Lucia: As a means of providing further relief to the marginalized population of the country, the Equity, Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry – Joachim Henry, has announced that the Ministry for Equity is leading discussions with the island’s lone electricity provider, the Saint Lucia Electricity Services Limited (LUCELEC), to make the vital utility available to consumers on a prepaid basis.

With electricity being among the costliest of utilities, Minister Henry said thousands of less fortunate households are forced to grapple with high electricity bills on a monthly basis. To help address this problem, Minister Henry said the example of neighbouring Dominica might be worth emulating. Research from Dominica revealed that customers who subscribe to electricity on a prepaid basis had better overall management of their consumption patterns, leading to significantly lower disconnection rates.

Speaking against the backdrop of the announcement of the Flow Home Communications Bundle, an initiative negotiated between the Government of Saint Lucia and telecommunications provider FLOW that would benefit approximately 5,000 less fortunate households; Minister Henry further announced that FLOW was considering the idea of introducing solar powered modems for the most marginalized households in society.

He added that the process would be undertaken by the Ministry of Equity to ensure that the most vulnerable in society are the true beneficiaries of these and other badly-needed government interventions.

Under the Human Capital Resilience Program funded by the Caribbean Development Bank, some of the most urgent recipients identified include those receiving disability grants, those on the Public Assistance Program, and single parents with at-risk offspring.

LUCELEC is expected to roll out the prepaid electricity concept for vulnerable households during this fiscal year.